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Tom Williams


Tom Williams has been a staff photographer for Roll Call since 2000 where he started as a photo intern. He has covered numerous national party conventions, races for House and Senate seats, and the Gulf Coast oil spill. He started taking pictures at 16 years old and his grandfather was one of his primary subjects. Today, friends and family remain an inspiration for his photographs. He is from Tunkhannock, Pa., and holds to two B.A. degrees from Penn State University. His favorite photographer is Henri Cartier-Bresson and favorite musician is Bob Dylan.

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Stories by Tom Williams:

When Grandma's Away ... | Capitol Lens

Dec. 15, 2015

Lisa S. Disbrow, nominee to be under secretary of the Air Force, testifies Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, while her 1-year-old grandson Parker McCabe keeps himself entertained with snacks and coloring books.

Behind the Photo: Catching Ryan's Family in Media Mayhem

Nov. 2, 2015

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., announced in a news conference on Oct. 20 that not sacrificing family time was part of requirement to seek the candidacy for the position. When it was clear he was going to be the 54th speaker, I knew I wanted a shot of him and his family when they were on the Hill for the ceremony.

Why You Want News Photographers to Roam Free at Political Events

April 14, 2015

One of the most important assets a news photographer has is the ability to move. Even a few inches can make the difference in having a clean background for your shot. You want to be able to look at as many angles as possible and determine where you need to be to make the best picture. Most of the time you can make a good guess, but it is always a good idea to take a spin around the venue to rule out other vantage points.

The Two-Second Shot

Jan. 21, 2015

Many times on the Hill, a photographer has to guess which direction someone will go, how many photographers will be there already, what the light situation will be and numerous other scenarios.

Getting the Job Done in Media Scrums

Oct. 21, 2014

There are many competitive photographers in D.C. I’ve learned from guys such as Stephen Crowley of The New York Times, Win McNamee of Getty and The Associated Press’ J. Scott Applewhite since I came here as an intern with six months of experience at my college newspaper. They don’t need to be the closest or most aggressive. They put some elements together, capture a moment, or catch a piece of light that will tie a picture together. Colleagues I respect will always try to be aware of where the other shooters are in a crowd and flash a “You OK?” look when they are close to being in your frame. I try to operate this way, too, but sometimes it can be difficult on the road.

Behind the Camera in Ferguson

Aug. 19, 2014

On Aug. 14, I was in St. Louis with reporter Emily Cahn waiting to fly back to D.C. the next day. I knew about the protests in Ferguson and thought about going, but I had to file pictures from the Illinois State Fair and had little storage space on my computer after nine days in the Midwest for our Roll Call on the Road project.

Iowa: The Fair of Entourages

Aug. 14, 2014

I attended the Iowa State Fair last week with Roll Call Politics Reporter Alexis Levinson to cover the Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. The candidates running for the seat are Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Senator Joni Ernst. I’ve have enjoyed taking photos of politicians at the fair in the past, but it proved tricky this time with the volume of people following them.

Small Victories

July 15, 2014

Although it seems there’s not much to these pictures, it is a major victory in the effort to photograph the back-to-back weekly news conferences of Speaker John A. Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the Hill.

Cantor Resignation: A Photojournalist's Challenge

June 16, 2014

When House Majority Leader Eric Cantor unexpectedly lost his primary, I knew the next day would be a media zoo on Capitol Hill.

On the Road: Mississippi Politics

June 3, 2014

This trip through Mississippi had a lot of challenges. Missing candidates, late schedules and zealous handlers can make it tough to get informative and creative images, and this swing through the Magnolia State might have generated more stories than art.

Meeting Real Life Heroes

May 23, 2014

I had the privilege of photographing some World War II vets this week. One 98-year-old gentleman was a co-pilot in the initial bombing runs over Japan. He was retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, a member of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders, who is originally from Ohio. The Raiders were B-25 bomber pilots who volunteered for the first offense action against Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Police Week: We Remember

May 16, 2014

People were very emotional at the first Peace Officer Memorial after 9/11. The thing I remember is that Ofc. Molina held her salute throughout the reading of the New York officers killed in the attacks, with the majority being from the Port Authority and the NYPD. Most put their hands down at some point. I kept thinking she physically couldn’t keep her arm up because it would be impossible to hold — but she did.

My View of West Virginia

May 13, 2014

The West Virginia House and Senate campaigns officially start after the primary elections on Tuesday. I was sent to cover some of the candidates in April and caught some great moments.

How I Found Metta World Peace on the Hill

May 9, 2014

I was in the Capitol on Wednesday, making my way to the House side for an event. I decided to walk across the East Front — just in case I ran into something. It would have been just as easy to walk inside, but you never know what you’re going to find outside. There was a big group gathered on House steps with members of Congress talking and taking pictures. I saw some stylish women and I thought they might be famous, so I stopped to inquire. They weren’t, but I was told that there were former pro athletes in the group so I knew that would make a picture if I could cut though the people milling about, get to the principles and line it up.

The Perfect Thing to Do on Your Snow Day

March 3, 2014

Getting bored on your snow day? Check out the top photos from last week, Feb. 24-28.

PHOTOS: Captured Moments From SOTU 2014

Jan. 29, 2014

Enjoy the below slideshow that documents memorable moments from the 2014 State of the Union captured by CQ Roll Call photographers Bill Clark and Tom Williams.

Caption This Photo: Vice President Joe Biden

Jan. 29, 2014

We’d love your suggestions for a caption to go with this classic moment of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. with Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., captured right before Tuesday’s State of the Union address by CQ Roll Call photographer Tom Williams. Leave you caption in the comments below or tweet us @rollcall.

PHOTOS: Best Pictures From SOTU Past

Jan. 27, 2014

Check out some of the best moments from previous State of the Union addresses captured by CQ Roll Call photographers.

Capitol Lens: The Pentagon Scene

Sept. 2, 2011

I took the photograph in the evening. I was waiting for the light to get nice at the Pentagon Memorial and there weren’t that many people around.




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